Mindy McCready: Worst case scenario for both parents and kids

Mindy McCready: Worst case scenario for both parents and kids

I’ve been thinking about Mindy McCready quite a bit today. I’m not really sure why since I knew next to nothing about her except what I saw on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” (don’t judge). Everyone can generally agree that the country singer’s death by apparent suicide at the age of 37 was a “senseless tragedy.” It seems that she was not able to recover from her boyfriend’s death just last month.

But of course any coverage of McCready’s death also describes how much she struggled with her personal life in general, not just these past five weeks since her boyfriend’s death. She had purportedly attempted suicide several times in the past, she had an extremely contentious relationship with another former boyfriend (including charges against him of attempted murder and restraining orders for each of them), and she had multiple arrests under her belt, not to mention stints in rehab.

McCready has been described as “the Amy Winehouse of country music,” not necessarily a flattering title. Like Winehouse, at some point McCready’s personal travails overshadowed her musical success. Shortly after Winehouse’s death, I wrote about the effect that likely had on her parents, who had struggled to help her right her course.

Unlike Winehouse, McCready’s death left behind two children. The father of her six year old son was the man who was accused of trying to kill her, and at some point McCready’s mother had legal custody of that boy. McCready’s other son was not even a year old, and his father was the boyfriend who died last month. Within the past few weeks both children were removed from Mindy’s custody due to her extreme depression over her boyfriend’s death and her excessive drinking. Now two boys will grow up without their mother, one without either parent.

I’m trying to think about how Mindy’s parent must have dealt with her situation over the years. They must have been at least somewhat involved in order for her mother to have had custody of her older son, and her father is the one who requested that both boys be placed in foster care for their wellbeing, so it doesn’t sound as if they were completely out of the picture.

My oldest child is 20, and I’m not sure how I’d deal with an adult child who had clearly strayed so far off course that she continuously seemed unable to find her way back. I guess it’s the nature versus nurture debate that both fascinates and confounds me. How much credit can we take if our kids turn out to be successful and well adjusted? And how much responsibility should we take when they end up being kind of a mess?

From my experience with my own four kids, I know that they need varying amount of my parental help and guidance. Some keep themselves pretty well on course while others need more nudging to keep moving in the right direction. I have always envisioned that at some point my kids won’t really need me to “parent” them anymore, but that doesn’t sound like it was the case with either McCready or Amy Winehouse. It comforts me to imagine they both had crummy upbringings, which means nothing like this could ever happen to my kids, but believing that would mean believing that we can control our kids’ fate, and I know that’s not true. Maybe the best we can do is try to prepare them for the best chance of success, the confidence to make good decisions and pursue what will make them happy.

Which leads me back to McCready’s two sons. Now there is no chance that she will finally get her act together and be a good strong mom to her boys. I hope that they end up in homes where they will be loved and can grow in a stable environment and not be saddled with the legacy of their famous mother. I hope that someone sets a good example for them and can model what it means to be a loving parent. While I would never wish for this kind of ending, I hope that at some point there will be peace and stability for McCready’s boys that maybe there hasn’t been for them up to this point. Hugs to them both.

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